When Kim got in touch about shooting her and Michaels wedding at Thornbury Castle I admit I was a little excited after she told me all they had planned. They were flying in from California along with most of their guests (other than Michaels family who were UK based) and Kim had planned a proper castle themed wedding.
Having booked exclusive use of Thornbury Castle for the whole weekend they were fitting in everything they could for their wedding. There was so much happening that they had to book my second shooter Sean as well so that we could cover everything. Full on medieval themed décor, fighting knights, a jester, some archery practice for the guests and a really good firework display to finish up, there was loads to shoot!
As is tradition in America, they had a rehearsal dinner the night before. As this isn’t something we do in the UK, it was the first time I’d ever photographed a rehearsal dinner, so I was a little nervous. I needn’t have worried though, as it turned out, this was essentially a pre wedding party and was much like covering the wedding itself.
I always like to do an engagement shoot with all my couples as I find they help so much with giving them confidence in front of the camera
Normally I do these a month or two before the wedding but what with Kim and Michael living in California this obviously wasn’t practical. We decided to pop out for a while during the rehearsal dinner party. Unfortunately, on the night itself we were treated to some classic Bristol weather with it raining on an off all evening. About ¾ of the way through the engagement shoot it started raining.
Rain doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
There are actually a few cool photos you can do in the rain and I asked Kim and Michael if they were up for doing some. Like the absolute legends they both are they went for it. Kim asked that I did something that included the castle and I came up with the idea of highlighting them with some lights while creating a silhouette of the castle in the background.
On the day itself I arrived early to shoot a bit of the castle before heading over to spend the morning with Kim and the girls while Sean spent the morning with Michael and the guys.
Kim and Michael had written their own vows and wanted to give them to each other before the ceremony. They wanted to save seeing each other for the ceremony though so we it set up so they could swap their vows without seeing each other. It was a touching moment.
After I had taken Kim back up to her room her dad came up to escort her to the ceremony. One of the nice things about having a second photographer is that we can each focus on one person. Sean got a lovely shot of the first time Michael saw Kim while I focused on photos of Kim and her dad walking down the aisle.
They had a humanist ceremony which included the story of how they met, this was full of laughs and tender moments. I like to keep an eye on the guests during the ceremony for their reactions, you are so focused on each other you aren’t really aware of anything else so I think it’s nice to see a bit of what is going on around you.
Once the ceremony was done it was on to the fun! In keeping with the castle theme, the jester entertained the guests while they enjoyed some drinks and canapes followed by the knights battling for the honour of being Kim’s champion. Obviously, the guys had to have a bit of a play with their weapons!
When the shows were over, we all headed inside and the guests got their first look at the fantastically dressed room (which was put together by the wedding planner Caroline, who is ace btw). Kim and Michael were announced into the room and we went straight into the speeches. This is always a good opportunity to get a few good reaction shots, especially with Michael’s best man and older brother laying into him in the way that only a brother can.
Once everyone had finished their meal (which looked amazing, the chefs at Thornbury Castle obviously know a bit about food) I took Kim and Michael out for a couples shoot. There had been so much happening during the day that we hadn’t had time to fit one in yet. As the weather had improved drastically from the day before and the sun was starting to set, it was the perfect time and the light was great.
In the meantime, the guests were introduced some archery, which it turns out is harder than it looks! As the sun went down the party began. Once it was properly dark it was time for the fireworks. The fireworks company had brought some sparklers along with them so Kim and Michael entered for the display via a sparkler tunnel. Kim got to start the fireworks display off by pushing a big red button!
It was an amazing couple of days, everyone was so lovely and there were so many lovely moments throughout the day. Thank you Kim and Michael for letting me be a part of your fantastic wedding 🙂
If you are getting married at Thornbury Castle, I would love to hear from you. It’s an amazing venue full of beautiful spots.